It's been a crazy and hectic year in the 40k scene and our local groups seem to have caught the 8th edition bug with no signs of it letting up anytime soon. In the past 6 months, we've seen at least 3 major tournaments held in conventions, 2 Invitational Qualifiers and 2 or more casual events during the breakneck pace of 10 codex releases. That's more than 1 event PER MONTH and would have left even the most hardcore player reeling with the speed of changes that each Codex and FAQ has brought about. Thankfully it looks like it's about to slow down after the release of Daemons and Dark Eldar in the next couple of months.
On to the Invitationals! It's a yearly premier event for the local tournament scene organised by Gamersaurus Rex and the only way to participate is to win one of the Qualifiers or solo Major events (or have it passed down from others having already qualified or unable to make it due to other commitments). It also features the largest prize pool of any single event and this year's top 4 totalled just over US$750 worth of product (including the awesome Limited Edition 8th edition Rulebook).
Being somewhat a gathering of Champions, the tournament organisers decided to use the ITC Champion's Missions format for the first time in the local meta (we've mostly used the ITC Combined Arms missions thus far). One of our newest entrants to the competitive scene and a last minute invitee mentioned that while it looked daunting to her when she first read them, the Champion's Missions are actually very logical and straightforward once you play out a game or two. I find myself agreeing with her and the Champion's Missions feel more balanced (slightly) than the Combined Arms missions simply due to the fact that you can pick your own secondary objectives. Which means you can tailor them (to some extent) to the kind of list your are bringing or the models you might have in your collection. While it does favour a certain type of army more than others, almost every other type of mission does so in their own way and the choice of secondaries somewhat shores up that weakness at least.
*in the middle of Round 1. Much explaining going on. Pic also captures 2nd-5th place players.
This is the breakdown of the armies used by all 8 players yesterday (in order of final placing based on 80% generalship and 20% painting):
Ynnari (Rangers, Dark reapers, Hemlocks)
Chaos (Chaos daemons-nurgle, Death Guard, Alpha Legion cultists)
Chaos (Tzeentch daemons, Alpha Legion cultists & Noise Marines)
Tyranids (Flyrants & Genestealers)
Ynnari (Rangers, Dark reapers, Hemlocks)
Imperium (AM + AM)
Chaos (Iron Warriors Obliterators & Alpha Legion cultists + Noise Marines)
I won't be going through my games in detail as the list was similar to the one I took to the ATOL event (you can see the full review here) with the addition of Alpha Legion cultists in place of reinforcement points to take advantage of "The Dead Walk Again" and "Tide of Traitors" stratagems. The full list can be found here. The weaknesses were apparent from the get-go though as that list doesn't have much mobility and any long-ranged firepower. With the Nurglings and infiltrating Cultists, it does have excellent board control and dominates the centre of the board with its characters and poxwalkers. None of these provide good sources of long ranged firepower though, and I felt myself trying to claw back kill points in all my games while taking out important enemy targets (not always the same thing as the important Aeldari targets are always well protected). Strong in scenarios such as "Seize Ground", "Cut to the Heart", "Nexus Control" and "Crucible of Champions", neutral in "Precious Cargo" but weak in "What's Yours is Mine". Pretty much good in any scenario with a central objective or those with multiple objectives close together. A meta of 2 damage shots (Reaper launchers & Hemlocks) also makes Feel-no-pain much less effective and it was painful facing both Ynnari lists out of my 3 opponents.
My final takeaway from the Invitationals is that I'm actually keen to playing more Champion's Missions and feel that as much as the ITC Combined-Arms missions are a huge step up from the generic rulebook's Eternal War ones, the Champ Missions are a step above Combined-Arms (though not as large a leap) in terms of balance and variance in choice of style of play.
With the year drawing to a close, I've found that my greatest motivator for painting is tournaments and having been part of the TO team back in 4th-6th ed, many of my models fell by the wayside as I didn't have the necessary extrinsic motivation to paint them up. There's something to be said about going into an event with a nice looking fully painted army. I'm looking forward to the slower pace that 2018 will bring and we can all settle into a less hectic painting routine (especially for people who own multiple armies and like taking pride in their presentation).
Am loving every minute of 8th edition and have no regrets starting up The Crossroads. I hope our readers have garnered at least some benefit from all the articles put out so far and I'd like to give a big shout out to everyone who's written an article or contributed in one way or another. Zackary Ong, Steve K, Alex Guo (from Games Workshop Singapore), Nicholas Wong (from Gamersaurus Rex), Rico Chia (from Mirico), BlackBearIvan, Nicholas Leong, Sheng Ren (Lord Renzus), Joel Koh and last but not least, one of my biggest out-of-the-scenes supporters, my bff, Elizabeth Aron. This site would not be possibly without even one of you and it's quite amazing how this really is the crossroads for so many people with various interests and I look forward to working with everyone who we might meet along this crossroads and the paths we take. It's been an awesome journey and here's to an even more awesome one in 2018. Happy New Year everyone!!!